To Sir with Live

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By Steve Oppenheimer

(February 1999)

Got live if you want it.

In the best EM tradition, we have something old and something new for you this month. In the first category, we have a wide-ranging interview with Sir George Martin, the legendary producer who is retiring after a long, hit-studded career (see “To Sir with Love” on p. 54). Most people associate Martin with the Beatles, of course, and some folks know his earlier work when he produced records by high-caliber comedians such as Peter Sellers. But did you know that Martin also produced significant albums by such artists as Seatrain, Jeff Beck, the Paul Winter Consort, and Mahavishnu Orchestra? Indeed, his career was as broad as it was deep.

Given the scope of Martin’s career, we wanted to offer the big picture of his approach to production rather than present just another Beatles retrospective. (Of course, we asked him some Beatles questions, too!) To accomplish this, we talked not only with Sir George but also with a wide variety of well-known musicians whose work he produced. The result is a unique perspective on Sir George Martin as he rides off, bathed in glory, into the sunset.

Now on to something new. EM readers are undoubtedly accustomed to our penchant for making occasional changes in the magazine. Like all dedicated musicians, we never want to stop improving. In that spirit, we have decided to upgrade our coverage of products, techniques, and technology for live performance. In the past, we handled these topics in a bimonthly JAMsupplement; henceforth, they will be fully integrated into EM.

To begin with, we are introducing a new “Stage View” feature series, which will discuss live-performance technology, products, and applications. We’re kicking off the series with “Playing to the Back of the House” (p. 100), Rudy Trubitt’s story on how to use delay stacks in club P.A.s to achieve superior room coverage at moderate volumes.

This issue also introduces a new monthly column, “Performing Musician” (p. 144), which will focus on live performance issues and applications. Sometimes the column will feature familiar JAM authors and topics; for instance, former “Vox” columnist Joanna Cazden offers tips for singers in this month’s column, and in our next issue, former “Tech” columnist Bean will take us on one of her popular high-tech explorations. As we roll along, we’ll also introduce new authors and fresh perspectives.

To top it off, we’re debuting a new section of “What’s New” called “Performance Tools,” which will present gear for the stage musician and sound engineer. This section of “What’s New” will be treated like our “Sound Advice,” “Get Smart,” and other special “What’s New” sections: it won’t run every month, but you’ll see it often throughout the year. That way, we can focus on performance tools that are really cool—the cream of the crop.

These changes represent our renewed commitment to covering topics of interest to musicians who perform live and to doing so at a higher level than ever before.

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